California, United States
Illustrations and Paintings
Stubborn, creatively driven, dependable…
I was born and raised in Southern California. My parents met at Chouinard art school in Los Angeles in the 1950's. I decided to become an artist back in kindergarten. I graduated from Art Center College of Design in 1981 and have worked in many areas of illustration.
I freelanced while holding a part time "day job" at a small design studio where we focused primarily on toy accounts (Barbie paid my bills for many years). I wrote and illustrated a children's book, There Was Magic Inside, for Simon and Schuster. After 20+ years the "day job" ended. I have worked as a giftware designer for the past 10 years while I continue to freelance. I am a regular contributor to Highlights Magazine for children, a relationship that I very much treasure.
When did you first know you were an artist?
One day in kindergarten when the teacher had all of us drawing trees with crayons. Everyone else's drawings looked like green and brown Q tips. My tree had branches and a bird's nest. I think I realized then that art might be the path I should take.
Quirky, whimsical, stylized, colorful imagery is what I love doing best. I love good, strong design and using costume in my work when I can. Graphic design was my father's career and my mother studied costume design... so I think i inherited these interests.
After working for over 20 years in watercolor. I switched to oils. I never really enjoyed watercolor very much but it was expedient for children's illustration. The lack of a wide range of color constantly frustrated me. About 4 years ago I started to experiment in oils and I love them... especially the wide range of color.
I never got proper instruction in art school regarding their use. Oils were not considered a "commercial medium" due to their longer drying time. So it has been an interesting journey to discover just what I can and cannot do with oil paint.
I work in a pretty traditional manner. I do many thumbnail sketches. Once I find a concept/composition I like I sketch it to a larger size on tissue paper. I then make a reduced size xerox of that sketch and I do several color studies in marker and colored pencils until I find one that I want to pursue. I then transfer the sketch to prepared masonite/wood panels that I have gessoed (I only use real gesso NOT acrylic gesso). The lines are usually rather faint so then I have to darken all of the traced lines. This is a boring, laborious process.
After the drawing has been clearly, cleanly transferred I lay down a neutral semi transparent oil glaze. From here I can still see the lines below the wash. I start laying in the darker areas building them up with additional glazes. I like the idea of having some of the glazed areas show thru the top layers. I often build to opaque areas that I try to balance with transparent ones.
If it is a "real job" the client dictates the subject matter.
When I am painting for myself, I am drawn mostly to people, especially when I can incorporate costume. I actually enjoy painting most themes... landscapes, still lives, etc. But I tend to stylize quite a bit. I don't really like painting realistically. I also stay clear of technical type subject matter. I really hate drawing anything with wheels (especially with spokes, like bicycle wheels) that have to be drawn in perspective.
Where do you get your ideas?
Many things can inspire... an unusual color combination, nature, fine art. I tend to doodle/thumbnail in a sort of "stream of consciousness" state where I can let disparate ideas flow. Most of these thumbnails never go beyond this stage but sometimes something worth pursuing happens.
Why do you create art?
I think most artists will agree that creativity is something that must be expressed. You have to let it out.
How often do you create?
Usually every day I work at some sort of artistic endeavor. The only time I do not work at art is when I am on vacation.
What is the best painting you ever created?
It's usually the next painting I want to do. I am rarely 100% satisfied with the outcome of an image. I am happiest when I discover something new when painting.
Do you make a living with your art?
So far, yes.... but I wear many hats. I have a "day job" designing for a giftware company. I do freelance children's illustration (mainly for Highlights Magazine), I am working on some licensed imagery and I am trying to build up more imagery for sale. I have an online Etsy store. It is linked to my website.
I arrived late to the online world. Doing art on the computer does not interest me.... at all. However, it is a great way to promote your work and make connections. Currently I have the Etsy.com store that I opened three years ago. I have a fan page on Facebook and a year ago I got a website. I am always interested in learning new ways to interact online. I am astounded at the fact that you can put your work out there and people from all around the world can access it. This is amazing to me.
I also have a Twitter account, but, honestly, I do not find it effective. I don't really like twitter very much at all. I don't like communicating in short bites. Facebook gives you a chance to interact more in depth.
So many artists have inspired.
Here is a partial list of very divergent artists in no particular order....
Vermeer, Modigliani, Grant Wood, Gustav Klimt, Mary Blair, Seymour Chwast, Gennady Spirin, Leo and Diane Dillon, Edward Gorey, Van Eyck, Toulouse Lautrec, Tony Duquette, Dorothy Jeakins (Hollywood costume designer), Gaugin, Mark Ryden, medieval art and sculpture, William Morris, John Singer Sargent, Kestutis Kasparavicius, the architects Greene and Greene.
Did you ever feel like giving up art?
No. I don't have anything else to fall back on.
Where do you see yourself as an artist 10 years from now?
Hopefully I will improve. I'd like to start to work a bit bigger (I tend to paint rather small... for time's sake and so the art can fit on my scanner bed). It would be a dream to be able to support myself solely by painting what I want to paint. I think this is a dream of most artists.
I would like to move away from Southern California. I don't know where yet but I would like to be away from the noise and distractions of living here. I'd like a peaceful, tranquil environment where I could concentrate more on my work without the noise and irritations of other people living around me.
Advice for Aspiring Artists
Art is not easy if you are interested in taking it seriously. Be passionate about what you do. Practice constantly. Hone your craft. Be inspired by other artist but do not copy them. Strive to bring a sense of who YOU are as an artist.
Illustrations and Paintings